Aspidistra - Cast Iron Plant, Parlor Palm
DESCRIPTION: This hardy plant needs the least effort to succeed. A native of China, it has large, broad, dark green leaves. Where the winters are mild, this plant can be placed outside in shady areas. Large, well-established plants occasionally produce interesting flowers that grow low among the leaves and are purplish-brown. A. elatior variegata produces foliage that is variegated with green and pale yellow.
POTTING: Aspidistra should be repotted in March, though it isn't necessary to do this annually. If you aren't going to repot, you should remove some of the topsoil and replace with fresh compost. Clean pots that have a layer a crocks on the bottom and are filled with two-thirds loam, one-third leaf mold, a bit of sand and crushed charcoal, should be used for these plants. Water should only be given when the soil is fairly dry. During the winter, they should be placed in full light, but during hot summer weather, these plants enjoy a shady window or a shady location outside. If they are exposed to too much sunlight in the summer they may lose their rich green color, which is their main beauty. It's beneficial to sponge off their leaves occasionally.
PROPAGATION: You can divide this plant when you repot and plant the separated pieces in individual pots.
VARIETIES: A. elatior; A. elatior variegata.
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